I don’t think anyone ever told me directly but I became quickly aware of the stigma that exists surrounding black men wearing hoodies. Somehow the hoodie was linked to suspicious activity. So much so that “Urbanwear”/ clothing typically worn by people of colour has been demonized. This made me think about how there is a disconnect between perception and reality and that these incorrect perceptions of black men can be problematic. From something as small as non-coloured people walking across the street to avoid the black man donning a hoodie to black teens and men being wrongfully shot in the street, I think there is a lot to be said about how the hoodie is perceived.
“3 Gentlemen Seeking the Nearest ATM”, illustrates 3 black men in hoodies happily running with bags of cash excited to invest it into their futures so they can go home and play Mario Kart, a payday ritual of theirs. They seem menacing at first, one’s initial interpretation may be to think that the bags aren’t theirs, that they may have stolen. However perception is far from reality in that these gentlemen are on the simple mission to secure the bag.
My practice involves addressing social issues and the dynamics of human life through satire and humour. “3 Gentlemen Seeking the Nearest ATM” is no different. I also try to be very cognisant of the time and space I inhabit and as such I write phrases as I work that are not premeditated. These phrases come from conversations, paraphrased quotes, protest signs flashed at me in passing and songs lyrics. This allows for a display of thoughts and mindset as the work is being made. In modern slang it is common to refer to money as “bread” and as such there are phrases that allude to this as well.